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The Editor

(07) 3282 7755
(07) 3282 7766
P.O. Box 330
Queensland 4069

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JUNE 2, 2006


IT was a gathering that was in some ways reminiscent of earlier times with riders emerging from the bush on horseback while others wound their way up the hill on foot.

The four wheel drives that traversed the hill reminded us however that we were very much in the present and that this was an event of our time where local community spirit was clearly still very much alive and kicking.

It was wonderful to have such a diverse mix of people. Students from Pullenvale State School present with their Principal, members from a number of the original farming families in the Pullen Vale and Brookfield areas and other interested residents. It was this broad representation from the community that generated a sense of authenticity and historical importance that lifted this event to another level of significance.

Councillor Margaret de Wit spoke about the importance of keeping our history alive and acknowledged that this place was significant to Aboriginal and Non- Aboriginal alike. I shared some thoughts and personal anecdotes about Adam Walker. As we gathered around the graveyard fence it was for many the first time that they had seen and read the inscription on the gravestone, which reads: “In Loving Memory Of ADAM J. F. Beloved Husband of AGNES WALKER - Died at Pullen Vale, 13th May 1879. Aged 41 years Gone but not forgotten. (A.L.Petrie Toowong).”

This story really begins however almost twenty years earlier when I was wandering with my close friend and compatriot Mrs Libby Wager in search of the cemetery site. What we found was Adam Walker’s gravestone on the ground in four pieces, shattered it seemed by a bullet. We took the gravestone back to the Pullenvale Environmental Education Centre with the intention of protecting it from further damage.

My noble thought of repairing the headstone remained only a thought however until Verne and Pat Gibson came to the rescue and donated the money to have it restored. Once again the idea of returning the gravestone to its rightful place surfaced but did not eventuate until Brendan Ryan acted in 2005, and re-awakened interest in the idea of bringing the gravestone home, so the wheels began turning and this wonderful event was organised.

I cannot thank Brendan and the Brookfield History group enough for their ongoing persistence, which has now resulted in the community having access to a very significant and important heritage site.

Adam James Furley Walker owned portions 231, 245 and 263 on the south slopes of the Mount Elphinstone Range to the west of the cemetery. He arrived in Brisbane from Scotland with his wife Agnes in 1865. Adam was very active in the community, and was instrumental in the building of the first Pullenvale School in 1874. Its first location was in Blaney’s Paddock and he was the first school committee secretary.

The school building and residence were later moved by bullock wagon to its present site in Grandview Road Pullenvale and functioned there as the local school until 1981 when it became part of the Pullenvale Environmental Education Centre.

The Walkers had nine children, seven of whom survived their father. In March 1873, the Queensland Board of General Education received a letter from Adam Walker formally requesting a State School for the Pullenvale area on behalf of the local residents. He died in 1879 of tuberculosis with which he had suffered for four years. The Pullenvale community had lost a committed and enthusiastic advocate. These words from the letter he had sent to the Board of Education in 1873 give us a sense of the kind of man that he was.

“We are but a young and struggling community endeavouring to plant ourselves in the wilderness which goodness knows is hard uphill work with not one among us who has had more than a pair of strong hands and a willing heart to enter into this arduous task. But our children are dear to us and we would not have them grow up in ignorance to be distanced in the race of life if by any effort on our part we could avert it”.

Adam Walker’s gravestone is the only surviving marked grave in the cemetery site. The Queensland burial index lists another seven burials at the cemetery. These are: Adam James Furley Walker (b.1839, d.1879); Adam Walker (b.1873, d.1876) and William Walker (b.1878, d.1879), infant sons of Adam James Furley Walker and Agnes McLauchlan; Margaret Herron (d.1879), infant daughter of Thomas Herron and Ann Jane Gray; Robert Irwin (d.1888), son of William James Irwin and Christina McKay; Samuel Ballard (d.1885), son of Samuel Ballard and Eliza Lewis; Mabel (d.1883) and Louisa Ballard (d.1883), daughters of Thomas Lewis Ballard and Elizabeth A. Pellatt.

If you have time to spare then wander up to the old cemetery site and take a look for yourself. The entrance is off to the right where Haven and Gem Road intersect. Gem road is unfortunately unmarked at the moment, which can be a little confusing. At this point you need to begin walking up what appears at first glance to be a driveway. Walk until you reach a rustic steel bush gate on your left. This is the entrance to the old Pullen Vale cemetery. Climb to the top of the hill and there you will find Adam Walker’s newly located gravestone.

-Ron Tooth


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